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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

FAQ

What are the meal options?

LLM students have a wide range of choices, including cooking in their apartments and participating in a University meal plan. When you decide to go out, you will find Philadelphia offers hundreds of restaurants – among them, some of the best (and most expensive) in the country. But there are many neighborhood restaurants (some BYOBs) and fast casual options to fit any budget.

Once you receive information on Campus Express (this will be sent via mail by the University) , you will be able to learn more about the University’s Dining Services resources. You can register for on-campus dining options once you are enrolled in Campus Express.

Does the Law School have a dress code?

The atmosphere at the Law School is very casual. There is no dress code. You can certainly wear jeans and sweatshirts.

How does the Law School charge my tuition? When and how much should I pay?

Typically, tuition and fees are split in half with the first portion due at the end of July and the second portion due in January. In addition, you will be billed at different times during the year for other various fees (e.g., a library fee or additional charges for health insurance) or for any charges you make using your Penn Card (an internal University identification that also serves as a credit card). The University of Pennsylvania allows you to pay your tuition in various ways. Any questions about billing and tuition should be directed to Student Financial Services.

Can I work while pursuing the LLM?

There are very limited opportunities for LLMs to work while pursuing their degree, due to visa-related restrictions. In general, Penn Law does not have research assistant positions or other employment opportunities for LLM students. There are some jobs on campus, open to both undergraduate and graduate students. View available student jobs.

What do I need to open a bank account, and how do I choose a bank?

Each bank has its own requirements for opening a bank account. Some banks on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus are more accustomed to working with international students. Most banks will have free checking accounts for students. They usually offer a free ATM (cash dispensing machine) card as well. However, you may be charged a fee when you withdraw cash, especially if you use an ATM that isn’t hosted by your bank.

The fact that the checking account is free does not mean that the bank will not charge a fee for the international money transfers. Before selecting a bank, you might want to inquire about how an international money transfer will be billed to you. Be sure to carefully review any agreements or contract that you sign with the bank.

The Law School does not recommend or endorse any specific banks. You might consider consulting with an LLM student from the current class or an alumna/ae you know.

For more information on banks on campus, click here.

Can I open a bank account in the U.S.?

Yes. You might want to open an account when you arrive and eventually deposit by check or wire transfer the necessary balance for your semester. You will get a U.S. dollar denominated account and debit card. This will allow you to pay your tuition and other expenses from a U.S. based account. In addition, you will find it beneficial to have a local debit card so that your withdrawals in cash are not subject to foreign exchange fluctuations. Please note it is easier to block a lost or stolen credit card (or debit card) that was issued in the U.S. rather than an international card.

Do I need health insurance or vaccinations?

You are required to have health insurance that meets minimal standards set by the University of Pennsylvania. The University will automatically bill you for membership in its own Health Plan if you cannot prove that you have access to equal or better coverage from another source. You are also required to have certain vaccinations (or proof of prior vaccinations). Information on health insurance and/or vaccinations. We will offer an information session on health insurance and health care during the Pre-Term Program. Any other questions on insurance and vaccination should be directed to Student Health Services.

Does Penn offer any transportation?

Penn offers a free night bus and a shuttle service that will take you home if you live in certain parts of the city. Please visit Penn Transit.

Do I need a car?

Most students living on campus or downtown do not have – or need – a car. Philadelphia has a very efficient public transportation system, and parking is very expensive. If you need a car on a short-term basis, you can rent a car. One of the best parts about living in Philadelphia is how easy it is to get around on foot.

When should I arrive in Philadelphia and Penn?

We recommend arriving a full week ahead of the Pre-Term Program start, if possible.

How do I get to Philadelphia?

Most international students come by plane to Philadelphia International Airport (International Code: PHL). From the airport you can take a taxi or car share service (Uber or Lyft) to the city. Or, if you are coming without much luggage, there is a less expensive train that stops fairly close to the campus. The fixed rate for a taxi from the airport to Center City Philadelphia is $28.50 plus tip. You should tip between 10-20% of the price (at least some tip is expected, and it is not optional). Please note: Penn Law does not provide transportation services from the airport to the University. For more information on public transportation from the airport click here.

Visa Issues

Office of International Student and Scholar Services

Penn Global’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is dedicated to providing expert advice on issues related to your visa application as well as issues facing international students in general. Please visit the ISSS Website. If you have any questions regarding your visa, their detailed contact information is:

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

3701 Chestnut Street
Suite 1W
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-4661
isss@pobox.upenn.edu

Please note the Law School does not process student visa applications or respond to inquiries on visa related issues. All such inquiries should be directed to ISSS.

When does the Pre-Term Program begin?

The LLM Pre-Term Program will begin at the end of July with a full day orientation session, followed by a welcome event. 

How much is the tuition for the Pre-Term Program?

Tuition for the Pre-Term Program is $2,750, the full amount of your deposit, which is automatically credited toward the cost.

Is the Pre-Term Program mandatory?

Yes! The Pre-Term Program is an integral part of the LLM program and your attendance is required. In addition, the program gives you the opportunity to get to know your classmates and the city of Philadelphia before the academic years begins. More information about the Pre-Term Program.

When should I plan on arriving at Penn?

We recommend that you arrive at least a week before the Pre-Term Program begins. This extra time allows you to get situated, unpack, familiarize yourself with Philadelphia and Penn’s campus.

Please visit our Housing page!

Family Issues

The Family Resource Center at Penn is a hub for information, resources, activities, and advocacy for students and post-doctoral fellows with children. The Family Center provides a forum for parents to connect and develop supportive networks, and offers a welcoming environment for Penn students, post-docs, caregivers, and children. Please visit their website for more resources and helpful links, including information about daycare, schools, and other programs of interest to families. In addition, we offer a Family and Partners Appreciation event to welcome partners and families and facilitate networking among partners,


Family Resource Center
3615 Locust Walk
Lower Level (below the Graduate Student Center)
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104
215.746.2701
familycenter@upenn.edu

Bar Questions

Eligibility to sit for a particular state bar exam varies from state to state. Completion of the LLM degree in itself does not guarantee eligibility to take a bar exam. Moreover, the LLM program is not intended as a preparation course for any state’s bar exam.

In some states, including New York and California, the completion of an LLM degree along with certain other criteria may allow attorneys with a non-U.S. law degree to sit for the bar exam.

A large number of Penn LLM students sit for state bar exams, typically New York, immediately after they graduate. LLM students must familiarize themselves with the requirements of the bar exam they wish to take. We endeavor to stay abreast of changes in bar requirements and make every effort to support students who wish to take a bar exam. In particular, we work to support students to fulfill the New York Bar’s pro bono requirement. Find more information on pro bono requirements here. In addition, we will address this issue during the Pre-Term Program.

For information on bar requirements for all jurisdictions click here.

Which classes will count towards the requirements necessary to sit for the New York Bar Exam?

The New York State Bar Examiners have made recent changes to the requirements necessary for foreign trained attorneys to sit for the New York bar exam, including the number of required “professional law” subjects. For information on requirements for all individual state bar exams visit our Registrar’s website here.

Can I take courses outside the Law School, particularly at Wharton?

All Penn Carey Law LLM Students are eligible to enroll in the Wharton Business and Law Certificate program offered by Wharton’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education. For information visit the Wharton Business and Law Certificate website here. and register for the WBLC here. You are automatically eligible to take this certificate program. Please note, this is not a dual degree program (i.e. an MBA) and is not counted toward your one non-law class allotment. You will not earn credits toward graduation (or the New York Bar) for the WBLC.

In addition, over the course of a year, LLM students are allowed to take one course outside the law school, directly enrolling in another Penn school. That includes a class at Wharton or at other graduate and professional schools within the University without extra charge.

Please note that classes taken outside the Law School, such as Wharton, may be limited to only a certain number of JD and LLM students. These spaces are awarded using a lottery system and LLM students are not guaranteed spots in specific classes taken outside the Law School.

More information on cross-disciplinary studies.

Can I select my courses as an LLM student?

Yes. Aside from the mandatory Pre-Term Program, LLM students choose all of their own courses at Penn Carey Law.

There are just a few qualifications to keep in mind:

· Some advanced courses require a prerequisite course before enrollment, so it is best to check with the professor if you are interested in a course that lists a mandatory prerequisite. Send the professor an email explaining that you are already a lawyer and share any relevant practice or experience you have related to that course’s subject matter. Ask if it would be possible to enroll without the pre-requisite given your limited time at Penn Law. The professor may, though is not obligated to, allow you to take the course without the pre-requisite class.

· Clinical classes that involve actual legal representation of clients may be restricted to U.S. citizens.

· The Law School generally limits LLM students from taking more than one of the introductory courses designed for first year JD students (1L classes). Introductory courses often concentrate on teaching new students “what law school is about” as much as the substantive legal topic indicated in the title. LLM students are assumed to already have an understanding of basic legal concepts. LLM students wishing to take more than one introductory class should request permission from Executive Director, Elise Luce Kraemer.

View course offerings. Please note that because our faculty are engaged in cutting-edge scholarship in all fields, our course roster changes frequently, and we cannot guarantee that a particular course will be taught in any specific semester. Similarly, as is the case at many U.S. law schools, space is limited in some seminar and specialty courses and may be allocated by lottery in the event of over-subscription.

More information on course selection and registration.

FAQ topic: Academic Course Information

Which classes will count towards the requirements necessary to sit for the New York Bar Exam?

The New York State Bar Examiners have made recent changes to the requirements necessary for foreign trained attorneys to sit for the New York bar exam, including the number of required “professional law” subjects. For information on requirements for all individual state bar exams visit our Registrar’s website here.

Can I take courses outside the Law School, particularly at Wharton?

All Penn Carey Law LLM Students are eligible to enroll in the Wharton Business and Law Certificate program offered by Wharton’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education. For information visit the Wharton Business and Law Certificate website here. and register for the WBLC here. You are automatically eligible to take this certificate program. Please note, this is not a dual degree program (i.e. an MBA) and is not counted toward your one non-law class allotment. You will not earn credits toward graduation (or the New York Bar) for the WBLC.

In addition, over the course of a year, LLM students are allowed to take one course outside the law school, directly enrolling in another Penn school. That includes a class at Wharton or at other graduate and professional schools within the University without extra charge.

Please note that classes taken outside the Law School, such as Wharton, may be limited to only a certain number of JD and LLM students. These spaces are awarded using a lottery system and LLM students are not guaranteed spots in specific classes taken outside the Law School.

More information on cross-disciplinary studies.

Can I select my courses as an LLM student?

Yes. Aside from the mandatory Pre-Term Program, LLM students choose all of their own courses at Penn Carey Law.

There are just a few qualifications to keep in mind:

· Some advanced courses require a prerequisite course before enrollment, so it is best to check with the professor if you are interested in a course that lists a mandatory prerequisite. Send the professor an email explaining that you are already a lawyer and share any relevant practice or experience you have related to that course’s subject matter. Ask if it would be possible to enroll without the pre-requisite given your limited time at Penn Law. The professor may, though is not obligated to, allow you to take the course without the pre-requisite class.

· Clinical classes that involve actual legal representation of clients may be restricted to U.S. citizens.

· The Law School generally limits LLM students from taking more than one of the introductory courses designed for first year JD students (1L classes). Introductory courses often concentrate on teaching new students “what law school is about” as much as the substantive legal topic indicated in the title. LLM students are assumed to already have an understanding of basic legal concepts. LLM students wishing to take more than one introductory class should request permission from Executive Director, Elise Luce Kraemer.

View course offerings. Please note that because our faculty are engaged in cutting-edge scholarship in all fields, our course roster changes frequently, and we cannot guarantee that a particular course will be taught in any specific semester. Similarly, as is the case at many U.S. law schools, space is limited in some seminar and specialty courses and may be allocated by lottery in the event of over-subscription.

More information on course selection and registration.

FAQ topic: Bar Questions

Bar Questions

Eligibility to sit for a particular state bar exam varies from state to state. Completion of the LLM degree in itself does not guarantee eligibility to take a bar exam. Moreover, the LLM program is not intended as a preparation course for any state’s bar exam.

In some states, including New York and California, the completion of an LLM degree along with certain other criteria may allow attorneys with a non-U.S. law degree to sit for the bar exam.

A large number of Penn LLM students sit for state bar exams, typically New York, immediately after they graduate. LLM students must familiarize themselves with the requirements of the bar exam they wish to take. We endeavor to stay abreast of changes in bar requirements and make every effort to support students who wish to take a bar exam. In particular, we work to support students to fulfill the New York Bar’s pro bono requirement. Find more information on pro bono requirements here. In addition, we will address this issue during the Pre-Term Program.

For information on bar requirements for all jurisdictions click here.

FAQ topic: Family Issues

Family Issues

The Family Resource Center at Penn is a hub for information, resources, activities, and advocacy for students and post-doctoral fellows with children. The Family Center provides a forum for parents to connect and develop supportive networks, and offers a welcoming environment for Penn students, post-docs, caregivers, and children. Please visit their website for more resources and helpful links, including information about daycare, schools, and other programs of interest to families. In addition, we offer a Family and Partners Appreciation event to welcome partners and families and facilitate networking among partners,


Family Resource Center
3615 Locust Walk
Lower Level (below the Graduate Student Center)
University of Pennsylvania
Philadelphia PA 19104
215.746.2701
familycenter@upenn.edu

FAQ subtopic: Financial and Medical Information

How does the Law School charge my tuition? When and how much should I pay?

Typically, tuition and fees are split in half with the first portion due at the end of July and the second portion due in January. In addition, you will be billed at different times during the year for other various fees (e.g., a library fee or additional charges for health insurance) or for any charges you make using your Penn Card (an internal University identification that also serves as a credit card). The University of Pennsylvania allows you to pay your tuition in various ways. Any questions about billing and tuition should be directed to Student Financial Services.

Can I work while pursuing the LLM?

There are very limited opportunities for LLMs to work while pursuing their degree, due to visa-related restrictions. In general, Penn Law does not have research assistant positions or other employment opportunities for LLM students. There are some jobs on campus, open to both undergraduate and graduate students. View available student jobs.

What do I need to open a bank account, and how do I choose a bank?

Each bank has its own requirements for opening a bank account. Some banks on the University of Pennsylvania’s campus are more accustomed to working with international students. Most banks will have free checking accounts for students. They usually offer a free ATM (cash dispensing machine) card as well. However, you may be charged a fee when you withdraw cash, especially if you use an ATM that isn’t hosted by your bank.

The fact that the checking account is free does not mean that the bank will not charge a fee for the international money transfers. Before selecting a bank, you might want to inquire about how an international money transfer will be billed to you. Be sure to carefully review any agreements or contract that you sign with the bank.

The Law School does not recommend or endorse any specific banks. You might consider consulting with an LLM student from the current class or an alumna/ae you know.

For more information on banks on campus, click here.

Can I open a bank account in the U.S.?

Yes. You might want to open an account when you arrive and eventually deposit by check or wire transfer the necessary balance for your semester. You will get a U.S. dollar denominated account and debit card. This will allow you to pay your tuition and other expenses from a U.S. based account. In addition, you will find it beneficial to have a local debit card so that your withdrawals in cash are not subject to foreign exchange fluctuations. Please note it is easier to block a lost or stolen credit card (or debit card) that was issued in the U.S. rather than an international card.

Do I need health insurance or vaccinations?

You are required to have health insurance that meets minimal standards set by the University of Pennsylvania. The University will automatically bill you for membership in its own Health Plan if you cannot prove that you have access to equal or better coverage from another source. You are also required to have certain vaccinations (or proof of prior vaccinations). Information on health insurance and/or vaccinations. We will offer an information session on health insurance and health care during the Pre-Term Program. Any other questions on insurance and vaccination should be directed to Student Health Services.

FAQ subtopic: General Law School Information

What are the meal options?

LLM students have a wide range of choices, including cooking in their apartments and participating in a University meal plan. When you decide to go out, you will find Philadelphia offers hundreds of restaurants – among them, some of the best (and most expensive) in the country. But there are many neighborhood restaurants (some BYOBs) and fast casual options to fit any budget.

Once you receive information on Campus Express (this will be sent via mail by the University) , you will be able to learn more about the University’s Dining Services resources. You can register for on-campus dining options once you are enrolled in Campus Express.

Does the Law School have a dress code?

The atmosphere at the Law School is very casual. There is no dress code. You can certainly wear jeans and sweatshirts.

FAQ subtopic: Travel and Transportation

Does Penn offer any transportation?

Penn offers a free night bus and a shuttle service that will take you home if you live in certain parts of the city. Please visit Penn Transit.

Do I need a car?

Most students living on campus or downtown do not have – or need – a car. Philadelphia has a very efficient public transportation system, and parking is very expensive. If you need a car on a short-term basis, you can rent a car. One of the best parts about living in Philadelphia is how easy it is to get around on foot.

When should I arrive in Philadelphia and Penn?

We recommend arriving a full week ahead of the Pre-Term Program start, if possible.

How do I get to Philadelphia?

Most international students come by plane to Philadelphia International Airport (International Code: PHL). From the airport you can take a taxi or car share service (Uber or Lyft) to the city. Or, if you are coming without much luggage, there is a less expensive train that stops fairly close to the campus. The fixed rate for a taxi from the airport to Center City Philadelphia is $28.50 plus tip. You should tip between 10-20% of the price (at least some tip is expected, and it is not optional). Please note: Penn Law does not provide transportation services from the airport to the University. For more information on public transportation from the airport click here.

FAQ topic: Housing

When should I plan on arriving at Penn?

We recommend that you arrive at least a week before the Pre-Term Program begins. This extra time allows you to get situated, unpack, familiarize yourself with Philadelphia and Penn’s campus.

Please visit our Housing page!

FAQ topic: Pre-Term Program

When does the Pre-Term Program begin?

The LLM Pre-Term Program will begin at the end of July with a full day orientation session, followed by a welcome event. 

How much is the tuition for the Pre-Term Program?

Tuition for the Pre-Term Program is $2,750, the full amount of your deposit, which is automatically credited toward the cost.

Is the Pre-Term Program mandatory?

Yes! The Pre-Term Program is an integral part of the LLM program and your attendance is required. In addition, the program gives you the opportunity to get to know your classmates and the city of Philadelphia before the academic years begins. More information about the Pre-Term Program.

FAQ topic: Visa Issues

Visa Issues

Office of International Student and Scholar Services

Penn Global’s Office of International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS) is dedicated to providing expert advice on issues related to your visa application as well as issues facing international students in general. Please visit the ISSS Website. If you have any questions regarding your visa, their detailed contact information is:

International Student and Scholar Services (ISSS)

3701 Chestnut Street
Suite 1W
Philadelphia, PA 19104

Phone: (215) 898-4661
isss@pobox.upenn.edu

Please note the Law School does not process student visa applications or respond to inquiries on visa related issues. All such inquiries should be directed to ISSS.